STRENGTHENING THE FEEDBACK LOOP FOR IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
What Exactly is a Feedback Loop
Feedback loops. Whether we’re aware of them or not, they determine nearly every aspect of every factor of our lives.
Feeling hungry? That’s because your body is telling you to eat. So what do you do? You open the fridge and devour a slice or two of last night’s leftover pizza. Problem solved.
Another perfect example: When heating or cooling your home, you set the thermostat. Say you set the temperature to 72 degrees. When the temperature drops below 72, your heat will turn on. If it climbs above 72, it will trigger the air conditioner.
When you consider how effective feedback loops can be at creating positive outcomes for so many different types of systems, it’s no surprise that so many businesses use them. In fact, some of the most successful companies in the world heavily rely on feedback loops. But what are they exactly? At its core, a feedback loop is the process of using customer feedback to improve company processes or products and services that the company offers.
The Power of the Feedback Loop
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In business, feedback loops are used most often to improve a product or service by responding to customer complaints and concerns. They can also be used to make changes to the workplace environment in response to employee dissatisfaction.
Implementing the effective use of feedback loops is an excellent way to identify issues within your business’ operations and make plans for long-term solutions. The end results benefit both the business and its customers.
It’s really a win-win.
How Feedback Loops Work
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There are 5 steps to effectively use a feedback loop:
- Gather information
The obvious first step in a feedback loop is when you first learn about the concern, whether via survey, online reviews, customer complaints, or reports from HR. To use negative feedback to make positive changes, consider implementing a system to clearly record and categorize all issues and make sure to review them regularly.
- Ask Questions
To fully understand where the feedback stems from, make sure to follow up on complaints and concerns. Questions should include:
What could we have done to improve your experience?
How would you change this product?
How do you wish the service had been different?
What would you do to improve your workplace?
What do you think is at the root of this issue?
A careful review of feedback can help you determine whether problems are isolated issues, serious product flaws, customer service failures, or management oversights.
- Determine responsive actions
Next (and most importantly) you must determine how you can use any feedback to improve your product, service or workplace. Implementing positive solutions based on negative feedback is what creates the loop. The purpose of using a feedback loop is to focus on constant improvement. Determine what actions you can take and create a short or long-term plan to enact those changes.
- Notify customers and employees
The final step of a feedback loop is making sure your customers and employees understand the changes and the reason for the changes. You could put up a sign in your store, send out a press release, add an explanation on product packaging or send a company-wide email. Notification is important, because showing the steps you're taking to right a wrong will encourage customers to buy your product again, and reignite loyalty that may have otherwise been lost.
In its most effective form, feedback should be more of a diagnosis than a report card. It needs to determine what is working and what is not working in regards to a well-defined desired outcome so that positive steps can be taken to maximize your progress.
At its core, any feedback loop is taking note of ANYTHING that indicates room for improvement and creating strategies for adjustments in a way that drives action, rather than triggering despair or anxiety.
Any feedback your company receives - whether positive or negative - can (and should) be applied to understanding what works, fixing what doesn’t, and ultimately to the continuous growth of your business.
Your customers (and employees) deserve to know that you’re listening and that you care. It truly is the life-line of any successful business and the key to improving your customers’ experience. Use your feedback loops wisely - it will literally lay groundwork for how they choose to interact with your brand in the future.
So keep listening. Your customers will thank you, you can count on that.